We have have most beautiful fig tree growing in our garden next to a historic part of our property, an old bridge which once spanned the moat surrounding our house.
When I sit under it, I am sheltered from the wind and on a sunny day, I can relax and enjoy the moment or I can feel transported to Italy or some other part of the world.
With the abundance of figs this year, nothing is better than to pick them freshly from the tree early in the morning, walking barefoot outside in my Oxford stripe nightshirt.
The figs are perfect for rustling up a healthy breakfast, I love to start with some rich Greek yogurt, topping it off with flax seeds, a scattering of flaked almonds and walnuts, fresh figs and a drizzle of honey.
The Alice & Astrid boutique used to be situated in the heart of Notting Hill and directly opposite the sensationally and highly tempting Ottlenghi cafe. Here I use one of their most delicious recipes, to make use of the seasonal fruits. This delicious cake turned out better than I could have hoped for, do try it out, you won't be disappointed and neither will whoever you wish to share it with!
Fig, yoghurt and almond cake
This is the link for the recipe from Ottolenhi,
Serve this on its own, with a cup of tea, but do also make a fully-fledged dessert.
200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar, plus 1 tsp extra
3 large free-range eggs
180g ground almonds
100g plain flour
½ tsp salt
Scraped seeds of ½ vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp ground star anise
100g Greek yoghurt
12 figs (I used less, 8 it depends on how big they are)
Extra addition I made - scatter a handful of flaked almonds on top before baking.
1. Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Line the bottom and sides of a 24cm loose-based cake tin with baking parchment. Put the butter and sugar in an electric mixer bowl, and use a beater to work them well until they turn light and pale. Beat the eggs lightly, then, with the machine on medium speed, add them gradually to the bowl, just a dribble at a time, adding more only once the previous addition is fully incorporated. Once all the egg is in, mix together the almonds, flour, salt, vanilla and anise, and fold into the batter. Mix until the batter is smooth, then fold in the yogurt.
2. Pour the batter into the lined tin and level roughly with a palette knife or a spoon. Cut each fig vertically into four long wedges, and arrange in circles on top of the cake, just slightly immersed in the batter. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 170C/340F/gas mark 3 and continue baking until it sets - about 40-45 minutes longer. Check this by inserting a skewer in the cake: it's done if it comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool down before taking it out of the tin and sprinkling with a teaspoon of caster sugar.
To serve, you can eat the cake just as it is, but the addition of yogurt or cream will make it into a desert perfect for sharing this summer.
Enjoy the seasonal fruits.